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Locations: Oxford, The United Kingdom
Delivery Type: Blended, On Campus
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About the University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the second-oldest university still in operation. Even though there is no foundation date, there is evidence of teaching that dates back as far as 1096.Show more

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  • Accounting and ...
    Management
    avatar
    My experience as an international student

    Hi everyone, this is my first review. A friend asked me to share some of my experiences. Everyone imagines Oxford as an enchanted world where everything goes well and there are only brilliant people. This is not at all the reality.

    I had good and bad teachers. I met good and bad students. There weren’t many internationals in my time and I felt a lot of discrimination, not always negative. Oxford was divided between English students and outsiders. Hence I don’t have many English friends and many of my best friends are Polish. I know Oxford has improved a lot since my time so I don’t think my experience at all reflects Oxford as it is today.

    My advice is to take advantage of all that Oxford has to offer. From the rowing club to the consulting club everything is a networking opportunity that is the true value of oxford.

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    Programme: Accounting and Management
    Degree: Master's
    Graduation: 2000
    Delivery Type: On Campus
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Economics and ...
    Management
    avatar
    opinion about oxford

    I didn’t love oxford but I didn’t hate it either. The students were good and most of the teachers too. But there are also many weak teachers that was clear.

    In professional terms it was good but I enjoyed studying at the london business school for a master’s degree more.

    If I had to rate it, I would give Oxford a 3 and LBS 5. I wish I had studied at LSE instead of Oxford

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    Programme: Economics and Management
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Graduation: 2020
    Delivery Type: On Campus
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Economics and ...
    Management
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    Opinion on Oxford

    I was never particularly fond of Oxford. I applied because I wanted the Oxbridge prestige but the university was not at all what I had hoped for.

    Regarding the teachers, it was noted that they had a high lack of ability to relate to the students. Office hours were useless. In relation to the students, there was a high level of unhealthy competition.

    In terms of career, it certainly helped me to have studied here, but I don’t know if I wouldn’t have been happier at another university. I ended up going to do a Masters at London Business School where the environment was totally different. The idea of the importance of the network was very present and everyone tried to help each other.

    Another important parameter is the absence of the placement year. Undoubtedly, the Oxford brand is very important, but without grades or professional experience to complement it, it is useless.

    Thanks

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    Programme: Economics and Management
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Graduation: 2022
    Delivery Type: On Campus
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Accounting and ...
    Management Information Systems
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    Why I made a mistake

    I had an interesting time as a student at Oxford, not all was awful but I always felt I was treated differently. I think students should be aware that going to an Oxbridge university is not all perfect. I was not happy and I always felt I was being treated as a number. I received a better education at LSE and never felt I was an outsider.

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    Programme: Accounting and Management Information Systems
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Graduation: 2022
    Delivery Type: On Campus
    Campus: Oxford
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  • English and ...
    French
    avatar
    Reflecting on my decisions

    I don’t regret going to Oxford but at the same time I feel I would have been happier at LBS. I also considered Cambridge but I was rejected on spot … tough luck

    I won’t like, I had a fairly ropey first couple of terms but, once I got into the swing of things, I enjoyed the rest of my time and came away with a decent degree.

    Whether I then made the best of the opportunities that degree might have offered is a different question but, equally, I was never going to be a titan of business.

    But I can honestly say that I’ve never looked back and thought that I’d made the wrong decision in (eventually) going to Cambridge.

    The one and only time I ever got admitted to Cambridge I had been pretty sure that they were going to accept me. I was applying for the LLM, and the criteria were very clear: if you averaged above a certain mark in your undergraduate law degree, they would take you. And my marks were comfortably above the required threshold, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when the acceptance letter came in.

    Sadly, in the end I declined the spot, putting me in a relatively small group of people who received an offer to go to Cambridge but didn’t take it up. Whilst I don’t regret my decision, I am still struck by what a lovely place Cambridge is every time I visit.

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    Programme: English and French
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Graduation: 2022
    Delivery Type: On Campus
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Economics and ...
    Management
    avatar
    My life at Oxford

    Yes. I hated it. Although academically it wasn’t hard for me to do well, I was constantly depressed because I couldn’t feel I fit in the local partying culture and never understood the “Oxford is so darn great and magical” mentality. Looking back it opened doors for me as well as closed some others. As a foreign student it was expensive, that it forced me to think I must take a high-paying job soon just to earn the money’s worth, rather than pursuing my passions. The only people who I know were totally happy about going to Oxford are those who are conventially successful, finding high-paying and high-status jobs quite quickly in their chosen paths. If you try to do anything else, people try very hard to make you feel like a failure.

    I am sure if you ask 100 people you will get a hundred different opinions. But for what it is worth, I frequently wonder if they do more harm than good.

    The trouble with having not one but two global elite universities in your country is that they suck all of the oxygen out of the room. Britain is stuffed full of excellent universities, but few people know or care about them because they are so obsessed with the Oxbridge duopoly. In the US lots of people have different ‘dream schools’. In the UK, in the vast majority of cases, the dream school tends to be one of those two.

    It also creates problems for the universities themselves. My family have a fairly long association with Oxford over the years, and I can’t tell you how many times people tell me about Oxford as a bastion of privilege, full of upper class twits. Now, attending Oxford is a privilege but not a very bastion like one. Upper class twits are happily a relative rarity. Like most British universities, Oxford is pretty hard left politically, and inverse-snobbery is a far bigger problem than the conventional variety. But the perception is very hard to shift.

    The universities therefore become a lightning rod both for ambition and endeavour, and also for criticism: both on a scale that is entirely out of proportion with reality. Gordon Brown (a rare British PM who went to a university other than Oxford) loathed Oxbridge. He would obsess over it as a hive of class privilege of discrimination which had to be dealt with. But for some reason he just couldn’t give two monkeys about what went on at Imperial, or UCL, or Durham, or Edinburgh or a host of other excellent universities. To him, they didn’t matter. What mattered – all that mattered – was what happened at Oxbridge.

    It just isn’t healthy

    Pedro …

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    Programme: Economics and Management
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Graduation: 2021
    Delivery Type: On Campus
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Art History
    avatar
    I choose Oxford now I regret ...

    I had to make that happy choice when it came to my masters degree, as I was lucky enough to get offers from both. I picked Oxford because it was generally regarded as the more prestigious of the two for that course of study.

    For many courses only one university teaches it but not the other. For other courses one university is regarded as superior to the other. But for a huge swathe of subjects, it really is just a matter of personal choice.

    Interestingly, when it came to my doctorate I was quite keen to go to Cambridge – really just to see somewhere new. But personal circumstances conspired against me, and I ended up going back to Oxford.

    I prefer Cambridge, but of course I would.

    The main differences I see are:

    Cambridge is a town. Oxford is a city. Sure, Cambridge has a decent sized population and all that, but it feels like a town – it’s quiet most places at night and it’s mostly pubs not clubs, it’s just sleepier and less busy than Oxford. This might be a positive or negative point for you depending on what you like.
    Cambridge is mostly the university and things that have come out of the university, whereas Oxford feels like it also has its own identity as a place. Again, you might prefer one or the other.

    It depends a lot on your college, but on average Oxford seems more upper-class and unapproachable in places than Cambridge. Both have their dens of impenetrable upper-class tradition, but Oxford seems to take its much more seriously, whereas Cambridge mostly seems to understand it’s a bit silly and invite you in to have fun rather than mocking you for not knowing what you’re doing. (I come from a lower middle class background without a history of attending university.)

    Similarly, Oxford takes a more traditional approach to some subjects than Cambridge does. I liked the way I could pick a variety of science courses alongside my first year of Computer Science at Cambridge.

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    Programme: Art History
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Graduation: 2022
    Delivery Type: On Campus
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Anthropology
    avatar
    Why I would rather have chosen Maths at Cambridge

    I hope you find my experience interesting.

    I went to Oxford, however if I could go back in time I would have probably chosen Cambridge or LBS.

    There’s a reason this photo of Oxford’s Bullingdon club, featuring David Cameron and Boris Johnson, because so notorious. ‘Oxbridge’ may be shorthand for ‘establishment’ in the country at large, but between the two the establishment spirit is much stronger in Oxford. A lot of this is down to the famous PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) degree offered at Oxford, which is one of the most prestigious degrees in the country. Many of the leading politicians studied this, so it in turn attracts people with political ambitions at a young age (a boy at my school, when he failed to get into his preferred Oxford College to do PPE, genuinely wailed ‘I’ll never be Prime Minster now’).

    In contrast, I’ve always considered Cambridge to have a greater reputation for the sciences, where Oxford had a greater reputation for humanities (especially PPE and Classics). There have been 95 Nobel laureates from Cambridge, of which 2 Peace and 3 Literature. Oxford, on the other hand, has had 65, of which 5 Peace and 5 Literature. That’s 90 vs 55 of the biggest scientific prizes out there.

    Cambridge is now one of the fastest booming towns out there, as science and engineering firms choose to base themselves there near the University: Why Cambridge is at the heart of Britain’s economic recovery . If you are a scientist or engineer, you’ll find better jobs in Cambridge. Then there’s the landscape. In reality, the two are so similar that we’re in the territory of narcissism of small differences. I recommend you make your decision based on something arbitrary, like which end you consider the best end to punt from (Oxford from the front, Cambridge from the back). I attended Oxford. In spite of what alumni and students of either institution will loudly proclaim, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge are similar. They are good universities, if you’re the right type of student: you enjoy the subject you’re studying, and you’re talented enough to learn fast enough to handle the syllabus. Let me explain why student satisfaction may not be high:

    (1) Change in relative competence Many people enter Oxford or Cambridge from “normal” schools, where they were most likely the top students. I notice that the students who went to “elite” (academically-selective) schools tended to cope a bit better, since they were used to not being the best students in their classes, and used to a more punishing curriculum. For example, I experienced a rise in my relative competence, compared to my previous institution: I was in a selected group of about 50 scholarship-awarded students all placed into two classes, in a top-2 high school, in a country where only the academic top 30% are even allowed into high schools, and where the average PISA score is the highest in the world. Oxford represented a decrease in academic pressure relative to my A Level class in Singapore.

    (2) Academic overreaching through extreme hard work Some minority of students at those institutions worked extremely (think 80 hour weeks) hard in order to make it in, in spite of a lower innate talent. Most of them don’t enjoy that level of hard work, and many of them were pressured by their parents to work that hard. These people have a pretty tough time because their parents are no longer there to pressure them, yet they find it really hard to keep up without working much harder than their peers. I wish that parents would not stretch their children so hard. It’s not healthy, and it is ultimately pointless. When they start their own careers, they are going to be free to choose their own pace. The fact that they attended a good university only helps them get that interview: afterwards, their lower level of competence is still going to determine their career path.

    (3) Social life automatically gravitates towards the posh British private-schooled crowd Unfortunately, Oxford and Cambridge are disproportionately populated by students from British private schools, especially the elite ones like Eton, Harrow, Cheltenham Ladies’, etc.. Some students will not “fit in” with the group, e.g. international students of different cultures / appearance, state-schooled or working-class students. It does not help that many “posh” students have an unconscious assumption of their own cultural dominance in the university.

    My advice to those students is to socialize less in College and more in clubs. First, postgraduates are much more diverse and international, but College social activities tend to be undergraduate-focused. Second, shared interests override other “softer” commonalities such as class or race.

    Finally: If you have the chance to study the subject of your choice in Oxford or Cambridge, I recommend doing it. They are very good universities. Enjoyable experience, great environment (very safe, not too urban, not too rural), huge range of diverse people to interact with, strong academic support, and on top of it all, also good in terms of getting interviews at the start of your career. I have zero regrets in attending “Oxbridge”, except that I wish I took Maths (Cambridge)

    Margarida :))))))

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    Programme: Anthropology
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Graduation: 2022
    Delivery Type: On Campus
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Economics and ...
    Management
    avatar
    Just rejected from Oxbridge

    I’ve just received my rejection email today, and those of you who know the admissions schedule will notice that this is pre-interview.

    I disagree with the other answers – a rejection from Oxbridge (Oxford, in my case) is not just like any other rejection. Oxbridge is treated as something exceptional, something wholly other, and the admissions process reflects this. My applications to other universities were all the same, done in one batch. For Oxford, I had to submit work and take an admissions test. The many hours of preparation for these, and the interview I will never do, were draining, but I did them because I was invested in the opportunity. I poured my heart into my application, and in the thirty seconds it took me to read the rejection email, months or even years of hopes were dashed. I don’t want to be melodramatic, but that’d how it is. Perhaps I didn’t work hard enough. Perhaps I just applied at the same time as loads of extremely talented people. It doesn’t really matter.

    Today, I received an email that broke my heart a little bit. I had convinced myself that I stood a chance, that I was a strong candidate who was likely to be interviewed. I desperately wanted to get in, to experience tutors and a course that were just what I wanted. But, that will never happen. With one, generic email my dreams crumbled and I had to face the fact that I’m just not that good.

    Ah well. If I’m not good enough for Oxford, maybe it’s not good enough for me. Right now, I’m distraught, but it will get better. I will go somewhere else, and have a wonderful time, and do very well – partially, if I’m honest, out of spite. And I’ll move on, and eventually, Oxford University will just be a thing I didn’t do. And that will be just fine with me.

    I went to Cambridge, and Oxford students would call me a ‘Tab’, a derogatory term (derived from Cantab., the abbreviated word for ‘Cambridge’ in Latin – that’s a classy way to come up with a rude word). But Cambridge doesn’t have a derogatory word back – read into that what you will…

    The most important difference, particularly for what you want to know, is that Oxford is a city with a University in it; Cambridge is a University with a city around it.

    I’ve heard this said numerous times, and it’s true – more true in spirit than in population terms (160k vs 125k). Oxford feels like a proper large city with a University in the middle, whereas the city of Cambridge feels like it’s grown up around the University. Oxford has better public transport and more housing as a result; Cambridge also has a fast train to London but the station is way out of town, and the housing stock is cheaper and wages higher. In terms of links to the rest of the country, Oxford is better placed – unless you have a strong fondness for East Anglia and the East Midlands.

    The University of Cambridge was set up after a ‘town vs gown’ fight in Oxford forced scholars to flee in 1209 (and in 1355 there was a two day riot in Oxford following a fight between students and a tavern owner: St Scholastica Day riot – Wikipedia). The origins of Cambridge go deep within in its character: Oxford was always the establishment town, and Cambridge the rebel.

    Take the English Civil War: Oxford was a Royalist stronghold, which the Parliamentarians subjected to a series of sieges. Cambridge was in the heartland of Parliamentarian power – it was the headquarters of the Eastern Association army and the Parliamentary leader Oliver Cromwell was a former Cambridge student and MP for nearby Huntingdon.

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    Programme: Economics and Management
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Graduation: 2022
    Delivery Type: On Campus
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Chemistry
    avatar
    Why I would go to LSE If I could go back in time

    Two young people I know (but unconnected with each other) who had offers from Cambridge both turned their offers down. In both cases they had decided that they preferred the structure and content of the course (Maths in one case, Psychology in the other) on offer at Surrey, one of the UK’s newer universities. Both have gone on to do doctorates, and have done well, and neither regrets their choice.

    I think a certain amount of “it’s ancient so it must be the best” snobbery attaches itself to Oxford and Cambridge — either that or “it’s quite new so it must be rubbish.” In 1970, my best friend and I were very attracted by the new university of Warwick. Our elderly English teacher pulled herself up to her full 4′ 11″ and remarked, “Well, if you wish to apply to a jumped up polytechnic, that is no-one’s concern but your own. However, you will not cite me for a reference!”

    It is statistically harder to get into Warwick to do English than Oxford.

    As the world has become quite keen on attending Oxbridge should the opportunity present, I’ll add another obvious complication.

    Way back in the 70s I was recommended as a part-time prodigy at Cavendish lab by UK scientists at MIT. These early relationships carry weight. I was on the radar of the schools and I was also progressing in rowing.

    Culturally I was more British west Indian than standard Yank which made me interesting to UK peers but less so with most faculty who preferred proper Philips Andover/Exeter WASPS. I was a mere mixed-race Exeter visitor on a scholarship with power recommendations.

    For me to row for either University (Trinity College Cambridge was most encouraging of this while Oxford constituent colleges weren’t high on me until Harvard admitted that I was considering their medical school. Lol. I didn’t need another undergraduate degree but my future goals included diplomacy…) would have done a lot for academic international relations and this I was told often in the US Congress and in the beltway.

    I was weary though of the constant belittling by aristocratic Brits which was ostensibly based on my nationality but had a nasty condescending undertone of racism. Other Yanks being considered for either school with less fanfare than I were treated much better except at our rowing events (I’d become a team assistant and a recruit to Oxford.)

    I don’t think there would be many of my generation (Oxford BA 1972, Cambridge PhD 1978) because we didn’t have to pay much, if anything, for the privilege. I consider myself incredibly fortunate.

    It might be different in more recent times if students didn’t feel they were getting value for money. But I seriously doubt there would be many even so.

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    Programme: Chemistry
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Graduation: 2022
    Delivery Type: On Campus
    Campus: Oxford
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